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A note on the dynamics of incentive contracts

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  • Ching-jen Sun

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Abstract

Laffont and Tirole (1988) show that when the uncertainty about the agent's ability is small, the equilibrium must involve a large amount of pooling, but whether the continuation equilibrium induced by a optimal first-period menu of contracts is partition or not remains unclear. They construct a nonpartition continuation equilibrium for a given first-period menu of contracts and conjecture that this continuation equilibrium need not be suboptimal for the whole game under small uncertainty. We show that, irrespective of the amount of uncertainty, this nonpartition continuation equilibrium generates a strictly smaller payoff for the principal than a different menu of contracts with a partition continuation equilibrium. In this sense, Laffont and Tirole's menu of contracts, giving rise to a nonpartition continuation equilibrium, is not optimal. An intuition behind this result is provided that may shed some light on the problem of dynamic contracting without commitment.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Journal of Game Theory.

Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 645-653

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:40:y:2011:i:3:p:645-653

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Related research

Keywords: Incentive contracts; Dynamic contracting; Commitment; Partitional equilibrium; Ratchet effect; Bunching; D86; L51;

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  1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
  2. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-98, July.
  3. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  4. Caillaud, Bernard & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2004. "Equilibrium reserve prices in sequential ascending auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 78-95, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Schilizzi, Steven & Breustedt, Gunnar & Latacz-Lohmann, Uwe, 2010. "Should we combine incentive payments and tendering for efficiently purchasing conservation services from landholders?," 2010 Conference (54th), February 10-12, 2010, Adelaide, Australia 59159, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  2. Schilizzi, Steven & Breustedt, Gunnar & Latacz-Lohmann, Uwe, 2011. "Does tendering conservation contracts with performance payments generate additional benefits?," Working Papers 100883, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  3. Latacz-Lohmann, Uwe & Schilizzi, Steven & Breustedt, Gunnar, 2011. "Auctioning Outcome-Based Conservation Contracts," 51st Annual Conference, Halle, Germany, September 28-30, 2011 114523, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).

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